NASCAR officials will review multiple issues after ‘rough night’ at Richmond (video)

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Calling it a “rough night’’ Saturday for NASCAR officials in the control tower at Richmond Raceway, Steve O’Donnell said the sanctioning body would review how it handled multiple cautions to avoid repeating such mistakes in the playoffs.

O’Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer for NASCAR, made his comments Monday on “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

O’Donnell called the second caution in Saturday’s Cup race — the cause officially listed as smoke after Matt Kenseth braked hard — “a quick trigger, it was a mistake.’’

O’Donnell said the ambulance that parked at the commitment line to pit road was told as early as the backstretch to stop and didn’t heed multiple orders to do so

O’Donnell said he has been in touch with Martin Truex Jr., who was upset about the final caution that sent the race into overtime. Truex was on his way to winning before the caution and crashed in overtime. “He’s obviously upset, and I think that’s fair.’’

O’Donnell said series officials would examine each incident.

The issue with the ambulance could have impacted who made the playoffs. Kenseth ran into the back of Clint Bowyer‘s car as drivers slowed with the ambulance blocking a lane to pit road. Had a driver not yet in the playoffs won Richmond to qualify, they would have knocked Kenseth out of the postseason.

“We had a rough night ourselves in race control and that certainly put a damper on the night for us, and I think, luckily, we were able to see the same 16 guys on the Monster Energy Series make it through, but tough night for the guys up in race control,’’ O’Donnell said. “I think if you’re a race team you talk about wanting to put that behind you and move on to Chicago, and we’re certainly going to meet and make sure we put our best effort forward heading into Chicago.’’

O’Donnell was asked why the ambulance was dispatched for an incident between Austin Dillon and Danica Patrick even though both cars continued.

“Anytime there is an incident and a vehicle stops, we’ll dispatch our chase vehicle, an ambulance and usually a tow truck,’’ O’Donnell said. “In this case, all three of those are dispatched and then if a vehicle ends up rolling off, there’s communication to each one of those individually.

“I think in this case, I want to say the safety truck was a little ahead of the field, and so we asked them to kind of stand on the gas, get ahead of the field. We asked the tow truck and ambulance to stop and that probably would have been about midway through the backstretch. Tow truck did.

“Unfortunately, there were multiple communications with the ambulance and it just didn’t happen. It stopped at a really bad place. Ultimately, that is on us. We have a lot of folks who work hard at the race track, but we’ve got to do a better job of communicating. If we go back and look at it, could we have thrown the red light on the pits (to close pit road) or would that even have been worse with cars coming down, that’s something we’ve got to look at.’’

O’Donnell said officials will work to ensure that they’re not as big a factor in the next 10 weeks when championships will be decided in NASCAR’s top three national series.

“We don’t want to be a part of the story, as we’ve always said and I said Saturday before the drivers meeting,’’ O’Donnell said. “We’ve got a great group of drivers out there battling hard and got a great group in the playoffs, and we want it to be about those guys.’’

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NASCAR America: Erik Jones on why he doesn’t make friends with his competitors

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Back in April Erik Jones told reporters at Daytona International Speedway that when it comes to friends, he brings his to the track. He doesn’t get too close to his fellow drivers in the garage.

On NASCAR America, Jones talked with Steve Letarte and Dale Jarrett about the origins of that mindset.

“My dad was always big on it, because at first when I started out my racing career in go karts I just wasn’t that aggressive,” Jones said. “He was like, ‘we bring our friends to the race track. You need to go out there and get aggressive. If you’ve to move someone out-of-the-way, do it.'”

Since then, Jones said his philosophy “never changed.”

“We show up, it’s a late-model team, it’s me a three guys so it’s like, ‘I’ve got all my buddies I need right here,'” Jones said.

Watch the above video for more.

NASCAR America: Erik Jones’ racing roots in Byron, Michigan

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After a feature looking at his upbringing in Byron, Michigan, Furniture Row Racing driver Erik Jones spoke with NASCAR America’s Steve Letarte, Dale Jarrett and Marty Snider about the early years of his racing career.

The journey to his NASCAR career began with a yard cart that his late father, Dave Jones, brought home one day when he was 3.

“I rode that all day long around the yard,” Jones said. “Winter time would and we had like a gravel circle driveway in front of our house. When it would snow over I would get the kart out and ride it around in the snow because I could slide and I thought that was pretty cool. I would get it stuck about every five minutes out in the snow.”

Jones would then get out of the kart and find his dad in their barn to come out get him out.

Now 21, Jones also discussed how much his dad was involved in his career until his death in June 2016 after a battle with cancer.

He also explains how he’s never stayed in any series for more than one year in his career.

Watch the video above for the full discussion.

NASCAR America: Scan All from Cup playoff opener at Chicagoland

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“I sure as (expletive) hope that’s all out of our system.”

That’s what Kyle Busch had to say over his radio after he finished 15th, a lap down in the Cup playoff opener at Chicagoland Speedway.

Busch’s day went south after the first stage thanks to two pit miscues the sent him two laps down.

Meanwhile, Martin Truex Jr. dominate the field to win his fifth race of the year and advance to the second round of the playoffs.

In the latest “Scan All,” True and crew chief Cole Pearn recap their day, which saw them bounce back from their own pit road mistakes.

Here are other highlights from this week’s “Scan All.”

  • “Can’t drive in a straight line. Something’s not right with the front end.” – Ricky Stenhouse Jr. just before he made contact with the outside wall. A commitment line violation resulted in Stenhouse finish multiple laps off the lead.
  • “Tell the 1 (Jamie McMurray) I don’t know what happened there but we both got the short end of the stick.” – Ryan Newman after contact between him and McMurray sent McMurray spinning on a restart.
  • (Expletive), that 24 (Chase Elliott) can be so much (expletive) faster than us.” – Kasey Kahne after being told he was two laps down.

Watch the above video for more.

NASCAR America: Erik Jones recounts rookie Cup season, being taught by Kyle Busch

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Erik Jones, the rookie driver for Furniture Row Racing in the No. 77 Toyota, joined NASCAR America Wednesday for a special show from the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The 21-year-old driver won the 2015 Camping World Truck Series title and is teammates with Martin Truex Jr.

With Marty Snider, Dale Jarrett and Steve Letarte, Jones discussed the challenges and lessons he’s faced in his first full-time season in the Cup Series.

“The biggest (milestones) for me were trying to win a race and making the playoffs,” Jones said. “Obviously, making the playoffs didn’t happen. … I look back at the last few seasons and rookies that have been in the sport and it’s so hard to win races now. You just don’t see rookies do it a lot.”

Jones also discussed finishing second to Kyle Busch in the Bristol night race and his relationship with the driver who brought him into NASCAR beginning with the Truck Series.

“A lot of times when I was racing in Trucks and Xfinity and Kyle would come to race I’d always run second to him,” Jones said. “I’m like, ‘you know what the problem is? This is the guy who taught me how to race these cars. So I’m good at all the same tracks he’s good at. Except he’s been doing about 10 more years than I have.”

Watch the video for more.